In this issue:
New law should ease drug shortages
President Obama last week signed the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act, which contains a number of provisions that should help alleviate drug shortages, including many elements from legislation introduced by Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar. The bipartisan agreement will require prescription drug manufacturers to give early notification to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of any incident that would likely result in a drug shortage and give the FDA tools it needs to stop drug shortages before they occur.
Sen. Klobuchar was one of the first public officials to shed light on the critical drug shortages in the U.S. and has been a champion to find a solution to ensure patients have access to the life-saving drugs they need. “Drug shortages have a direct impact on patient care,” said Lawrence Massa, MHA president and CEO. “We appreciate Sen. Klobuchar’s diligent work to ensure hospitals can provide the best treatments to their patients.”
The final bill includes a number of provisions similar to those in Sen. Klobuchar’s legislation: it will direct the FDA to expedite inspections and reviews of manufacturing sites or new products that could be helpful in addressing a drug shortage, and require the FDA to keep detailed records of previous drug shortages and the actions taken to prevent them. It will also establish a task force to create a strategic plan to improve communication within the FDA and with public stakeholders as well as commission a report on price gouging and how pricing structures factor into drug shortages. The bill also allows hospitals within health systems to conserve their inventory of shortage drugs by sharing repackaged drugs. ^top of page
St. Gabriel’s awarded Rural Health Team award at Minnesota Rural Health Conference
The Violence Prevention Council of Morrison County, a collaborative effort of St. Gabriel’s Hospital in Little Falls, Hands of Hope Resource Center and a broad spectrum of individuals throughout central Minnesota, was awarded the Rural Health Team award at the Minnesota Rural Health Conference for outstanding contributions to rural health.
The council received the award for both its collaboration and innovation. It uses a “spectrum of violence” approach to reducing partner violence in Morrison County by using a variety of public education and media strategies to change how partner violence is perceived. It also works to bolster community resources dedicated to violence prevention and to improve how domestic violence is handled.
Recent projects include working with Little Falls Community High School students to create “Photo Voices” — video clips about partner violence that air within the school and will soon run on a local cable access channel — and collecting data at the site of domestic violence incidents to provide a stronger base for prosecution and sentencing. Following the council’s first full year of implementation, the number of domestic assaults in the county dropped from 62 to 48 and orders for protection decreased from 56 to 31.
Congratulations to St. Gabriel’s Hospital and the Violence Prevention Council for their extraordinary efforts to improve lives in their rural community. ^top of page
MN Mental Health Access website steers patients with mental illness to services
Minnesota Hospital Association (MHA) members often have questions about finding appropriate treatment for their patients with mental health or chemical abuse disorders. An excellent tool to find that treatment is online at http://www.mnmhaccess.com.
The Minnesota Mental Health Access website, also known as the mental health bed tracker or locator, gives acute care and community-based providers information regarding openings in mental health programs for individuals who need those services. The website includes statewide availability of services for all ages in acute care hospitals, intensive rehabilitation therapy (IRT), assertive community treatment (ACT) teams, crisis beds, crisis teams, detox, day treatment and partial hospitalization. Information is updated daily for most services. This is a free service MHA provides to our members and other mental health providers, as well as county social services staff.
The website is a partnership between MHA and the Minnesota Department of Human Services. Please contact Jen McNertney, MHA policy analyst, 651-659-1405, for more information. ^top of page
Essentia Health selected to participate as a Medicare Shared Savings Program accountable care organization
Essentia Health in Duluth is among 89 new organizations selected by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to serve as accountable care organizations (ACO). Through the Shared Savings Program, Essentia Health will work with CMS to provide Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries with high quality service and care, while reducing the growth in Medicare expenditures through enhanced care coordination.
The 89 new ACOs bring the total number of organizations participating in Medicare shared savings initiatives to 154. In Minnesota, there are four accountable care organizations, including three pioneer ACOs. To ensure that savings are achieved through improving care coordination and providing care that is appropriate, safe and timely, an ACO must meet quality standards. For 2012, CMS has established 33 quality measures relating to care coordination and patient safety, appropriate use of preventative health services, improved care for at-risk populations, and patient and caregiver experience of care. ^top of page
Medicaid Electronic Health Record Incentive Program moving forward
The long-awaited state program to provide electronic health record (EHR) incentive payments to hospitals and eligible providers that qualify under the Medicaid program is now in process. The Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) has contracted with CGI to provide the online infrastructure for processing applications and attestations for the program. The state’s Medicaid EHR Incentive Program (MEIP) plan was approved by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on July 3.
In a DHS meeting with key stakeholders including MHA, Minnesota Medical Association (MMA) and Regional Extension REACH staff, CGI outlined a project plan in which they expect to have the website completed by mid-October and for provider payments to flow by mid-November. DHS believes they will be able to secure a 90-120 day extension for applications to count toward federal fiscal year 2012 (ending Sept. 30).
For more information on eligibility for the program, go to the MEIP program online.
For questions, contact Joe Schindler, MHA vice president of finance, 651-659-1415 or Mark Sonneborn, MHA vice president of information services, 651-659-1423. ^top of page
CMS makes modifications to physician supervision requirements
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has made modifications to the requirements for direct physician supervision for outpatient therapeutic services, based on feedback from the hospital community. Under the modifications, certain types of non-physician practitioners may provide “direct supervision,” including physician assistants, nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, certified nurse midwives and licensed clinical social workers (according to state license, scope of practice and hospital-granted privileges). CMS also removed all reference to the physical boundaries, but the supervising professional must be “immediately available to furnish assistance and direction throughout the performance of the procedure.”
In total, CMS changed the supervision requirement for 43 outpatient services: 16 services require direct supervision only for the initiation of the service, followed by general supervision once the patient is medically stable. Twenty-seven other services have been modified to a general supervision requirement. CMS also extended the enforcement delay for hospitals with less than 100 beds until the end of 2012.
MHA continues to work with our members of Congress to adopt legislation that would adopt the default standard of “general supervision” and further ease the burden on hospitals. MHA is also seeking a clinical professional who can testify at the Hospital Outpatient Payment Panel Aug. 27-29 in Baltimore. If you have any questions, contact Ann Gibson, MHA vice president of federal relations, 651-603-3527. ^top of page
Conference will help attendees build healthier work environments
Mark your calendar for Summit of Sages 2012, Sept. 28-29
The 2012 Summit of Sages, hosted by the Katherine J. Densford International Center for Nursing Leadership at the University of Minnesota School of Nursing, will convene Sept. 28-29 at the University Hotel-Minneapolis. The focus of this year’s summit is on professional joy, or having a sense of well-being, pride and engagement in one’s career. Those in the healing professions began their careers with the idea of helping people live to the fullest extent possible, and to enrich their own lives through service to others. Yet this can be difficult. This energizing educational event will help all participants to better understand professional joy and how to create an atmosphere where professional joy can flourish. The plenary speakers are:
- Jane Barnsteiner, PhD, RN, FAAN, emeritus professor, Pediatric Nursing at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing
- Paul Batalden, MD, professor of pediatrics, Community and Family Medicine, Dartmouth Medical School· Riane Eisler, PhD, president, Center for Partnership Studies
- Kristen Swanson, PhD, RN, FAAN, dean and alumni distinguished professor of nursing, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
The program is designed for all individuals who play a role in health care, including physicians, nurses, administrators, chaplains, therapists, and others. Please share this information with your entire hospital staff.
To learn more or to register, visit nursing.umn.edu/summitofsages. Early bird registration discounts are available until Sept. 6. ^top of page